A statement from the Hon Alan Trudge MP, acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs.
The Government will hold online citizenship ceremonies via secure video link, to enable people to continue to become Australian citizens during the coronavirus crisis.
Current health advice around COVID-19 means it is not possible for traditional, in-person citizenship ceremonies to be held.
Australian citizenship is an immense privilege, and fundamental to our national identity.
The Department of Home Affairs has commenced trialling one-on-one ceremonies for those already approved for Australian citizenship. We will work with individuals with an urgent need, who cannot access the internet, to ensure their ceremony can occur safely in line with health advice.
When fully implemented, it is expected this new capability will see up to 750 people per day having their citizenship conferred.
The Australian Citizenship Act 2007 requires a person to make a pledge of commitment to Australia before a presiding officer. This is a legal requirement which has been in place for decades.
Applications for Australian citizenship are still able to be accepted during this period, though citizenship interviews and testing have been put on hold.
Additional resources will be deployed to conduct testing and interviews as soon as social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 ease.
The Morrison Government recognises the importance of Australian citizenship for migrants and for the wider Australia community. Already in 2019-20, more than 157,000 people have been conferred Australia citizenship, up 70% on the same period in 2018-19.
There are currently 85,000 people awaiting a ceremony.
People who were scheduled to attend a Citizenship appointment or ceremony over the coming months will be contacted to make alternative arrangements.